Enniskillen is the largest town in Co Fermanagh and also the largest town on Lough Erne. It is situated at the narrows between upper and lower lakes, so it’s ideally placed to entice boaters off the river and into the pubs and restaurants. Like Blakes of the hollow where you’re sure of a good Guinness! And lest I forget they have one of those Game of Thrones doors. Ye you know the ones I’m talking about!
Well would you believe it? it has taken three attempts before we managed to
cruise to Lusty Beg Island on lovely Lough Erne. You see Marion isn’t a lover of waves. In fact even small waves upset her enormously. So I have learned not to plead with her and for the sake of piece on board I have learned to just give in to her. This has led to a happier boat and more gentle cruising.
And so it was that we struggled to make the crossing to Lusty Beg Island and when we did finally manage to get there it was on the calmest day you will ever witness. I say that cos you will, I hope join us by way of the video below.
A Lough Erne cruise that has all four seasons in one cruise up the lake. We start out south of Enniskillen on upper Lough Erne then head north passing the dominating Enniskillen Castle that over looks the river right in the heart of Enniskillen town. The weather is a mixed bag and our mission is to try to get to the restaurant island of Lusty Beg. Do we make it? Well you will just have to wait to see the answer to that one.
Crom Castle and the whole Crom estate is well known as a wonderful recreational facility. Providing facilities for boaters as well as campers, Crom Castle also have pods as well as apartments to rent. The whole thing lends itself well to a good relaxing holiday experience. We headed out from Belturbet with Marion still suffering from a bad cold and you’ll notice her voice on the video is somewhat husky!
Given that the summer of 2018 has been one of the best on record it comes as no surprise that we enjoy more lovely sunshine on this trip. Crom castle and estate has been compared with Lough Key forest park and it’s a fair comparison too.
White Island should be on the top of you boating bucket list, it’s a marvel to see. Close by is the old RAF base of Castle Archdale. During the second world war Catalina and Sunderland seaplanes set out from this Lough Erne base through the Donegal Corridor and on out into the Atlantic where they hunted down German U-Boats.
From the pics opposite you can see how the aircraft would have fitted into the service dock like a hand fitting into a glove.
We also take a look at Boa Island and the Janus figure. This was an ancient Celtic idol. It is a two sided figure with a male and female face standing back to back. Now getting to Boa Island on lough Erne by boat is a little difficult because there is no landing jetty in the island. We were lucky enough to be able to arrange a lift from nearby Castle Archdale. Boa Island is connected to the mainland by a bridge.
In the pics opposite you can see the clear out line of the aircraft that would have moored here to get repairs or general maintenance work done.
There is also a barge anchored just to the left of the service docks. It’s a pity about the algae bloom in the water at the time. The westerly wind blew a lot of the algae into this bay which just added to it.
As far as we are aware this is the only remaining
example of such a dock in Europe. In the video we inadvertently referred to the refuelling jetty as the last one but this is the one we should have referred to. Hope you enjoy the video.
This is a Nasa BM1 Marine Battery monitor display (& Nasa BM2) and we’re fitting it to replace our our analogue battery monitor. After having battery problems on our trip to Belleek we decided to go ahead and fit a proper Nasa BM1 Battery monitor, there are other ones but in my opinion this one represents the best value for money.
It’s not too big a deal to fit it and I had the advantage of musing over the instructions for a week before I got down to the boat to install it. If you want to know how your batteries are behaving you would really benefit from this or a similar unit. The Nasa BM2 will take a higher amperage as is suitable if you have (or intend to install) a large inverter.
You may have difficulties getting the BM1 unit delivered to Ireland directly. If you use ParcelMotel.ie you should be able to get it delivered for the UK postage fee plus €3.95. ParcelMotel.ie almost always works out way cheaper that direct post to Ireland.
The Nasa BM2 is an identical unit with the single difference being that it can handle up to 200Amps while the BM 1 can only handle up to 100Amps. So if you have a hefty inverter onboard or if you are likely to install one in the future you may be better off using the Nasa BM2. The setup is exactly the same for both units.
Join us on a cruise across Lough Erne the broad lough all the way to Belleek. See what happens when things go wrong and how helpful we found people to be and of course how we got out of trouble on the lake. We negotiate changeable weather on Lough Erne and enjoy a cruise on an overcast day across lower Lough Erne (also called The Broad Lough) and safely into a superb mooring in the Town of Belleek. It’s here that we confirm our suspicions, that the alternator isn’t charging our domestic batteries. Now our fridge runs off these same batteries and without them getting a charge we run the onerous risk of drinking warm beer. A fate I would not like to face.
There are so many places of interest on Lough Erne that it’s difficult to pick out a favourite. But Devenish Island has to be on every one’s places of interest on Lough Erne bucket list, and especially if you’re near Enniskillen.
On this boat cruise we pass Enniskillen Castle and then we pass through Portora Lough. before visiting the ancient Irish Round Tower on Devenish Island. Portora lock is the only lock on the Erne navigation and it’s unusual in that the gates at both ends are usually left open. Apparently it’s only in times of very low water levels are the gated closed.
Devenish Island is something to behold. It’s a wonderful sight as you make your approach to the east mooring in the shadow of the lofty round tower as well as all the other monastic runes. The tower is just as the monks left it they day they cut the opening ribbon. It’s a marvel to their building skills that it’s still standing nearly a thousand years after it was built.
Well the Shannon Erne Waterway has been great but now we are on Lough Erne and what a great waterway the Erne system is. It’s correct to call it the Erne System because it’s way more than just two lakes. Once we cruised onto the Erne we headed towards Belturbet.
The sun was out we were captivated by the beautiful scenery, or at least that’s my excuse. See we missed a marker and very nearly ran aground. And the gas thing is that this all happened as I’m recalling a story to Marion about the last time we passed this way and how we missed the very same marker then too. Still we managed to avoid disaster and got back on course before we touched the bottom.
We are loving our cruise on the Shannon Erne Waterway, the scenery as well as the wildlife is just captivating us. One of the thinks that makes this waterway for us is that it’s a great mix of canals, river as well and so many intertwining lakes. Waterways Ireland have a wonderful amenity here and they have created some lovely moorings as well as great facilities. Most moorings have full stone-built service blocks.
This is also a very popular waterway with fishermen, in fact they seem to come from all over Europe and beyond to fish here. There are plenty fishing stands dotted along the waterway and there is a reasonably large local cottage industry providing accommodation, meals and boats to the visiting fishermen.
Join us on this cruise on the Irish waterways from Ballinamore to Lough Garadice, one of Ireland’s favourite fishing lakes. Ballinamore is in county Leitrim and has a rich history. It’s a major town on the waterway in general and the largest town on the Shannon Erne Waterway.
There is no shortage of good places to eat, and some very good pubs too. I didn’t count them but there is a pub for every age group and taste. The river weir is in the town and there are two public moorings, the one we stayed in is on the outskirts of the town and has a full service block. We were the only boat there except for a Waterways Ireland boat. The second one is right in the town centre.
We left the River Shannon at Leitrim and set out on a cruise to Lough Erne, via the towns of Ballinamore and Ballyconnel. These two great waterways are linked together by a series of canals, rivers and lakes called The Shannon Erne Waterway (or SEW if you prefer acronyms!)
Originally this waterway was called The Ballinamore and Ballyconnel Canal after the two main towns along its course.
This waterway was restored to navigation in 1994 and it is a kind of high tech waterway with everything being operated by a smart card.